Tuesday, March 4, 2014

All Natural Gluten Free Granola Bars

I used to make these with whole wheat flour and wheat germ, back in the day.  I tried them today with a gluten-free flour blend, certified g-free oats, pure maple syrup - so I guess that makes them vegan, and struggled to stop creating crumbs so I could keep eating out of the pan.....  

Prep ALL your ingredients first.  THEN turn the oven on - 350 degrees F.

Today's version:

ALL NATURAL GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA BARS - sprayed 9x13 pan (I used Pyrex)

2/3 cup all natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts, I used no-salt-added)
1 cup pure maple syrup or honey
2 2/3 cups g-free rolled oats
1/4-1/3 cup ground pecans (less if fresh, more if dry)
1 cup g-free flour (my combo: 1/4 cup EACH sweet white sorghum, superfine 
                              brown rice, 1/4 cup teff, 1/4 cup tapioca starch)
1 tsp cinnamon (yes, it DOES go well with peanut butter!)
2 cups of add-ins (today's combo: 1/2 cup dried fruit - dates and raisins, 1/2 cup
                             chopped almonds, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup ground
                             flax seeds, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds)

It takes some elbow grease to mix this stuff together well.  Do your best.  Then press it down HARD in the sprayed pan.  Make the top even, no cracks, craters, or empty spots.  With one hand bare and a wide spoon in the other, I press press press press press!!!  You're making BARS here, NOT granola.  Then bake...start checking at 15 minutes for browning edges.  Today's batch was a little more moist and took 17 minutes.  

CUT the bars while still warm.  I use a sturdy spatula and "slice" straight down; no sawing motion or you'll make crumbs.  Then allow them to cool in the pan.  You can use the spatula to re-cut for easy removal.  I individually wrap the bars for easy grab-and-go snacks.

There are endless options with these.  Next on my list: dark chocolate, dried cherries, coconut, almond butter with chopped almonds and ground almonds.  And maybe a little cocoa powder!  

I think using maple syrup makes them more moist and chewy than using honey but I like them both ways.  Play around and see what combo YOU like best!!  (And let me know!)  Oh, and don't eat too many.....these pack a whopper of a calorie count!

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